Existence By Jo Clement

Posted on December 15, 2021 by Stephanie Ballantine

We are here, beside the Reichstag,
to present the signatures of the dead:

five hundred thousand, and more, float
down the Spree. We raked for names

and brought armfuls to this graveyard glade
they’d drive an S-Bahn through. A train

through a memorial, our daily grief.
With its coffee cups and stubs, Berlin Central

isn’t far from here. Deutsche Bahn still clatters
human freight over Reichsbahn tracks.

Arrivals, fraught departures. Passing names.
Do not move, they say. Then in death, Go.

No. This place is our Karavan, sweet Sinti,
dear Roma. Here, a decade long,

the beaten heart persists. Over and over,
a violin slices a mournful minor note.

Let’s whistle this pitch to the children,
and call them back. Each one remembered,

remembering. Faces pool in nightwater.
Every day, a fresh flower rises.